Pasqua a Tavola
So, I survived and I didn't even overeat--relatively speaking. .
Back to Easter. The festivities don't start until the patriarch of the family blesses the table by sprinkling holy water with an olive branch. We began the meal with various salami, salted ricotta and boiled eggs, then onto the pasta, which was fettucine tossed with the drippings from the roasted lamb.
The poor little lambs were cooked 2 ways: braised with wine and peas, then mixed with raw eggs stirred over the flame until a smooth, clingy sauce formed. The other was roasted in the oven with wine, cherry tomatoes, onions, and lots of olive oil (which formed the sauce for the pasta).
After these 3 initial courses, it is customary to eat stuffed, boiled artichokes, then--THEN (can you believe there is a "then?") the Casatiello, which is also called tortano, is brought to the table. This is a bread cooked with pork lard (mmm), stuffed with salami and cheese, and topped with whole eggs. One might say that this is the "lighter," palate-cleasing part of the meal...
The Casatiello is followed by la Pastiera Napoletana, which is like a cheesecake cooked with ricotta, eggs, grain, cinnamon, candied fruit, and orange blossom water all baked in a sweet pate sucree-type crust.
The last gasp of the meal is the opening of the colomba (dove). This is a sweet bread (That's right! More bread...) baked in the shape of a dove. If you want to know the history, recipe, etc., click here.
When all is said and eaten, bellies distended from too many trips to the feedin' trough, the children in the family open their large chocolate eggs to see what surprise hides in the hollow interior.
I must say that Easter in Italy is quite a treat. I miss my family in Texas, and since I can't be with them on this particular holiday, I count myself fortunate to be able to share it with others.
Even though I have left my home for a life across the ocean, some things never change. Whether I'm in Texas or Italy, I can always take comfort in the familiarity of ritualistic holiday gluttony.
Post publication note: I am now going to hypnotize all of you who read this post before I spell-checked it. OOOOOO...you did not see those errors made from a lazy typing hand...OOOOO...they are gone GONE...from your memoryyyyyyyyyyyyy...Tracie is a perfect tiepist and she dusn't even kneed the spel chekkerOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...